If there’s anything I love more than bad movies, it’s sad folk-inspired music. The beauty of the Blog Collab is its potential to combine both of these interests; when I’m writing a blog post, I’m very often listening to sad folk (but I do occasionally branch out of this melancholy genre!).
Here’s a peek at my typical playlist (with all of the Avril Lavigne filtered out and some unnecessary commentary thrown in):
- “I Wish I Was the Moon” — Neko Case
The ultimate sad folk song; Neko Case is the queen of despair as evidenced by the lyrics “How will you know if you’ve found me at last? / ‘Cause I’ll be the one be the one be the one / with my heart in my lap.”
- “Rabbit Hole” – Jenny Lewis
If you don’t love Jenny Lewis, you’re wrong. Period. Her latest album has the most fun, irresistible ‘70s vibe.
- “He’s Fine” – The Secret Sisters
I love the sad harmonies in this song that break my heart rather than fill it with rage towards the two-timing Davy White. Okay—I might have a little bit of anger set aside for him.
- “Hi Ho” – The War and Treaty
This soul- and gospel-inspired husband and wife duo creates masterfully sad and deeply felt songs that have no right being so catchy.
- “Touching the Ground” — Brandi Carlile
It’s also accurate to say I listen to this woman’s entire music catalogue whenever I write.
- “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” – Ezra Furman
I only approve of love songs when they challenge gender norms.
- “Hey Eugene” – Pink Martini
Possibly the only song about a drunken make-out session to pull off a sweet sense of romantic longing and regret.
- “Penny to My Name” – Eva Cassidy
Eva Cassidy’s voice is so beautiful that you only realize halfway through this song that it’s about a woman who had a shotgun wedding and now lives in rural poverty from which she will never escape.
- “All We Ever Knew” – The Head & the Heart
I’m a basic hipster bitch, so obviously I like this song.
- “Fruits of My Labor” – Lucinda Williams
I feel weird about how sexy this song is considering it’s also despairingly sad. Who says it can’t be both, though?
- “And It Spread” – The Avett Brothers
You’d think spreading love would always be a good thing until you get to the line about shooting your arm full of love like it’s heroin.
- “James” – Camera Obscura
Based exclusively on this song, I will never trust a James. Or at least I will never think I know a James well.
- “Stay Gold” – First Aid Kit
Like the absolute killjoys they are, First Aid Kit uses the example of a beautiful sunset to remind us that nothing good can last.
- “Firecracker” – The Wailin’ Jennys
I absolutely adore this band’s folk- and bluegrass-inspired sound, and their devastating lyrics. In this song: “Knowledge pulls the reins against the bliss that I once knew / When you set your sights on me and the firecrackers flew.”
- “Another Sunny Day” – Belle & Sebastian
With Belle & Sebastian, even the saddest songs are inappropriately upbeat, and this is no exception.
- “Best Kept Secret” – Case/Lang/Veirs
It’s impossible not to love the Case/Lang/Veirs collaboration, and this catchy song is further evidence.
- “Son of Your Father” – Elton John
I firmly believe I was born listening to Elton John, and chances are I will die listening to Elton John as well. This one follows a familiar narrative Bernie Taupin seems to appreciate: two parties at odds seem to reach a peaceful solution, then promptly take things on an extreme reverse course until everyone ends up dead.
- “Dusty Boxcar Wall” – Eilen Jewell
I love the soulful bluegrass feel of this song and the directness of the lyrics about a woman leaving her lover with an unsentimental message written on a boxcar wall.
- “Coping Mechanism” – Shovels & Rope
I’m obsessed with the emotion Cary Ann Hearst’s voice expresses; specifically devastation. But all of the different types of devastation!
- “Fuel the Fire” – Sarah Jarosz
Something in my soul cannot resist the twang of Sarah’s voice and her banjo playing.